Pembroke – Concerns over speeding on County Road 30, the Lake Dore Road, were brought up at Renfrew County council by North Algona Wilberforce Mayor James Brose, but it looks like it will be up to the township, not the county, to work at putting up a radar sign to deter or monitor speeders.
“I’ve had a number of calls in our municipality about County Road 30,” the mayor said during the Operations Committee report at a ZOOM meeting of Renfrew County council last Wednesday. “The traffic has increased significantly on that road and speeding is one of the concerns the residents have, especially in the area past the Zomers Subdivision where there are a lot of people walking or cycling.”
The road has seen a tremendous jump in traffic following the opening of several cannabis stores at Pikwakangan First Nation. This is one of the main routes for anyone coming from the Pembroke, Petawawa or Deep River area into the Algonquin community.
Mayor Brose said the speeding is a concern for many of the people in the area and those who use that road. Although it is a county road, it is in NAW and NAW council has been approached with concerns, he said.
“The Ottawa Valley Active Transportation group has also asked if we could put up any radar sign on that road to help monitor speed,” he said. “As we move into budget, is there an opportunity to look at costs for mobile radar signs?”
Mayor Tom Peckett of McNab/Braeside, who chairs the Operations Committee, said his township purchased a machine to monitor the traffic. He said it records speeding data for use by the municipality and police.
“The machine does not show the speed,” he said. “It does track the speed and the size of the vehicle. It gives a date and time of day.”
The information is useful for the OPP to see what the speeding is in an area, he said. It is also like machines used to determine traffic counts, such as a recent study at County Road 40 and Highway 148 at the Quebec turnoff.
Mayor Peckett also said he was informed by-law enforcement can use a tool to track speeders through a cellphone and lay charges.
“I don’t have much faith anymore in trying to educate people about speeding,” he said. “I think we have gone way past that.”
There is a need to deal with speeding in local municipalities, he said.
“In my township the speeding has gone beyond not spending the money on it,” he said. “People’s lives are at risk. It is hard to walk anywhere in the township.”
Admaston/Bromley Mayor Michael Donohue said speeding has also become an issue in his municipality. As a result, the township purchased a device to track speeding.
“We don’t have a large device like Bonnechere Valley has,” he said. “We have a small device and we are moving it across various parts of our municipality.”
He said municipalities need to address the issue of speeding at a local level.
“I would like to caution policing is the responsibility of the lower-tier municipalities,” he said. “Whether it is a county road or the township’s road, the cost of policing is at the lower-tier municipality.”
Mayor Jennifer Murphy of Bonnechere Valley said the responsibility of policing falls on the lower-tier and this needs to be clear even though the county recently received a presentation from two OPP detachment commanders. She referenced an item in the county report which stated the county has no enhancement programs with the OPP.
“The county of Renfrew has no programs with the OPP,” she stressed, asking for the report to be amended to show this.
Mayor Brose then clarified he would tell his municipal council even though it is a county road if NAW chooses to put up a radar sign on it, it would be up to the municipality to do so.
County Road 40 and Highway 148
As part of the report from the Operations Committee, a request from Laurentian Valley for a complete traffic study of the intersection of Highway 148 and County Road 40 (Greenwood Road) was reviewed. According to the report, the completed count indicates as per the Ontario Traffic Manual a traffic signal is not warranted. The report said the current plan has the MTO redesigning the slip lanes but will continue to use a stop sign with a t-intersection there. This intersection is the responsibility of the MTO.
Warden Debbie Robinson, who is also the reeve of Laurentian Valley, said this was not what her municipal council had hoped for.
“We are disappointed as far as Laurentian Valley is concerned, but we will keep forging ahead to see what we can do,” she said.
Horton Mayor Dave Bennett said he was concerned the safety of the intersection was being overlooked because of the numbers being considered too low by the MTO.
“We need to force the MTO’s hand,” he said. “I did sit at the intersection and see the need for more than a stop sign.”
He said in the past he pushed for traffic lights at O’Brien Road and Highway 17 after being told by the MTO the lights were not necessary. After a short period of lobbying, the lights were installed.
“We need to be more proactive in looking at the safety aspect,” he said.
Warden Robinson said her township has been advocating for a traffic circle at the intersection for the last two years.
A delegation from the MTO visits county council on an annual basis and are slated to come in January, so these are issues that be brought up, she pointed out.
“Hopefully, we can have that conversation then,” she said.
Mayor Brose said he agreed that intersection needs attention and said he also wanted to ask the MTO about the intersection in Golden Lake.
“It is also important for an update on the intersection of County Road 30 and Highway 60 in Golden Lake,” he said.
The county and NAW, as well as community members, have been pushing for lights at the intersection in the hamlet of Golden Lake since traffic there has increased substantially with many vehicles travelling to Pikwakanagan.
Mayor Murphy said she agreed with Mayor Bennet about being proactive with the MTO.
“Even though our traffic counts and accidents might not warrant it, when you are boots on the ground you can certainly see it is needed,” she said.
Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader